Taste of the Caribbean ready to share the flavors of Jamaica at 12th and Jefferson

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Friday at 12th and Jefferson will be like a day at the beach in Jamaica. Taste of the Caribbean will host its monthly fish fry – another step in the changes at the former home of Waid’s and, the restaurant’s owners hope, another moment to further connect with the surrounding neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of building fences, credibility — and really being infused in the community so this can be good for us,” co-owner Carlene Comrie tells CHS. She and Dwayne Blake have operated a restaurant in the shadow of Waid’s since 2013 but with the troubled night spot closing in June and plans to revive a nightclub there apparently ended, the entrepreneurs are now making 1212 E Jefferson theirs with plans to “take over the establishment” as a full-fledged, true-to-Jamaica restaurant.

“We see a lot of folks offering jerk and Jamaican but it’s not really authentic,” Comrie says. “The spice level is traditional, You’ll taste the pimento. You’ll taste the habanero.”

Ready to put the Waid’s chapter behind them and get back to their goal of creating a successful restaurant business, Comrie and Blake are investing in the space with plans to expand hours and offerings. Coming soon will be a liquor license with Caribbean rums and Jamaican beer. The partners want Taste of the Caribbean to have a life of its own.

“Music will be part of the offering,” Comrie said. “There has to be a balance that is struck so that we can do business and offer our customers a taste of the culture.”

Friday’s monthly fish fry is part of what she hopes helps Taste connect with the community.

“In Jamaica, it’s a big thing,” Comrie said. “We go to the beaches and have a nice fish fry.” You can stop by from 11 AM to 9 PM to be part of it. Comrie said they’ll keep the fry events to once per month to help you keep your beach bod.

Taste of the Caribbean is currently open 11 AM to 9 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 4 PM to 9 PM on Sundays. Keep track of changes and learn more on the Taste Facebook page.

Name change for 12th Ave co-op changing the way we view business of death

10463930_710169835695636_4966584017991816651_nA 12th Ave nonprofit that is working to change the way we think about and prepare for death is also working to change how people think of it with a new name: Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial.

“There was some confusion, people didn’t understand the difference between the association and the funeral home,” said Nora Menkin, the co-op’s funeral director.

She’s also aiming to change the way we view funeral homes.

“We chose Capitol Hill because we wanted to be in proximity to hospitals, we wanted to be accessible and convenient,” said Menkin, who started out as an intern at the Co-op in 2007 before being promoted to funeral director in 2009. Being in the mix of things allows the co-op to reach people who may not have given funeral planning a thought. “A lot of people walk in our doors curious about what we do,” she said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink: Outer Planet creating truly micro-craft brewery on 12th Ave

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.53.38 PM

The Cal Park microhousing building

The Cal Park microhousing building

A nanobrewery beneath microhousing? Welcome to Capitol Hill!

The first time food and drink entrepreneur team behind Outer Planet Craft Brewing is making plans for a fall 2014 opening on 12th Ave inside the recently completed Cal Park microhousing development.

“We’re trying to maximize the use of the space — that’s our bottleneck,” Outer Planet co-owner Renato Martins tells CHS. He and homebrew-grown brewmaster James Stoecardo are planning to pack the puny brewery into the densely populated neighborhood. Production will focus on keeping Outer Planet’s taps flowing with on premise-produced beers. Martins says OP will start with a Blonde, a Saison, an ESB, an IPA, a Double IPA, a Belgian, and an Ale Stout ready for the first pulls. They’ll be joined by a small assemblage of “carefully selected visiting taps.”

“We’ve been researching a lot around the area,” Martins noted about their search for breweries to feature at Outer Planet. Continue reading

Embattled Waid’s closes doors but 12th and Jefferson nightclub’s days may not be over

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

Waid Sainvil said he has shuttered his Waid’s Haitian Restaurant and Lounge for good Sunday night after a few weeks of fighting to keep his popular nightspot open after its liquor license was yanked by the state.

Sainvil announced the closure Sunday and had one last night of partying at the 12th and Jefferson club before closing his joint for good.

Early this month, CHS reported on Sainvil’s vow to keep his troubled club open despite the state’s decision to strip Waid’s of its liquor license following years of alleged transgressions of liquor rules and SPD drug busts. According to a liquor board representative, Waid’s faced five enforcement violations and one licensing issue. In 2012, a series of drug busts were orchestrated by SPD at Waid’s. An account of the violations as documented by the City of Seattle is included on this CHS post

Sainvil told CHS it was racism and the push of gentrification driving authorities to target his lounge after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson club. “It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

Despite Sainvil’s end of gutting it out as an all-ages club, the building’s days as a nightclub may not be over. An establishment calling itself the Agora Lounge has applied for a liquor license for the address. Event producer Richard Heart de Lion declined to comment on the application at this time.

What happens when 88 affordable apartments join thousands more less affordable apartments coming to Capitol Hill?

12th Ave Arts stands above the land that used to be home to an East Precinct parking lot (Image: CHS)

12th Ave Arts stands above the land that used to be home to an East Precinct parking lot (Image: CHS)

This summer, 88 affordable apartments will be up for rent at a prime 12th and Pine location. But given Capitol Hill’s 97%+ occupancy rate, you will have to act fast if you want a shot at moving in this fall.

Leasing information went live this week for the below-market units that will make up the affordable housing component of Capitol Hill’s unique 12th Avenue Arts project. Leasing appointments can be made starting June 9th. Capitol Hill Housing is managing the units, adding it to the nonprofit’s substantial stock of affordable housing around central Seattle.

“We expect demand to be brisk based on interest from the general public we’ve received to date,” said CHH’s David Dologite.

The first come, first served apartment units are reserved for those with household earnings no greater than 60% of the area median income, putting max income eligibility in the ballpark of $29,000 $37,000 for a single person and and $53,000 for a four person household. Full-time students are excluded.

There are 8 studios that will rent for $817 a month, 72 1-bedrooms that will rent for $883 a month, and the 8 2-bedrooms that will go for $1,031 a month.

The rents appear to be significantly less than market-rate apartments on Capitol Hill. In March CHS reported that the median priced Capitol Hill studio listed on Craigslist was renting for $1,000 a month.

Continue reading

Champagne solves all problems: Capitol Hill’s Viva building overcomes its color challenges

IMG_1215The color problem that put the brakes on the brand new, six-story, mixed-use Viva building at 12th/Union/Madison?


“They have changed out portions of the siding to a champagne colored metal siding, thus satisfying the accent color issue!” a Department of Planning and Development representative enthusiastically informs CHS.

The new building is already moving forward with moving in new residents and a couple new businesses — including the brand new location for Ines Patisserie.IMG_1206

Capitol Hill restaurant: Boosted ‘suggested gratuity’ was honest mistake

VonTrapps (1)Von Trapp’s wants customers who dined at the 12th Ave restaurant over the Memorial Day Weekend to know there was no monkey business behind miscalculated “suggested gratuity” values appearing on the Bavarian-themed venue’s receipts.

A CHS reader sent us this receipt from a Sunday visit to Von Trapp’s showing the mix-up.

Before this gets filed along with history’s greatest Capitol Hill receipt controversies or some of the small scams we’ve heard about around the Hill over the years (count your change when buying cigarettes, drunk party people), Von Trapp’s manager Rich Fox says the incorrect totals were the result of an honest mistake:

Last Thursday afternoon we made changes to our receipt printing, with one section being the suggested gratuity line. Our POS tech support coded the line and it should have simply calculated the 18% and 20% gratuities on the check total. Instead, it calculated the tip by taking 18% of the pre-tax total and adding the full sales tax amount from the check.

Unfortunately, Dustin and I both were out of town and out of touch Friday-Sunday. When we got back into town and got the messages on Sunday afternoon, Dustin called our POS tech support and got them to correct the formula. It’s embarrassing that it was incorrect for a few days and that we didn’t think to initially run a test on the formula but honestly, it’s such a common thing we didn’t even consider that it would be programmed incorrectly.

It was definitely never meant to lead people astray- the last thing anyone in our industry needs is to be putting dishonest and clearly incorrect data on each and every check, especially a place that has as many people come through the doors as we do. It was also definitely not a plot by our staff to get additional tips- it is impossible for staff members to “fool” the system by adding and deleting items. The only way that they could alter that line is by breaking through the security on our POS back office computer and re-coding the POS brain- or have a incompetent POS tech support person do it for them, I suppose.

The situation emerged as tipping in Seattle has become part of the debate in the plan to bring a $15 minimum wage to the city. Under the mayor’s compromise plan, healthcare and tips will be counted towards employee wages until the end of phase-in periods for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees in Seattle.

CHS posted about the situation on Facebook without identifying the location as we looked into what had happened. The good news, it seems, is there weren’t similar situations reported at other venues.

Von Trapp’s and E Pike’s Poquitos share ownership. Poquitos, we should note, is a CHS advertiser.

Fate of Waid’s still in limbo as liquor board considers late appeal

(Image: Waid's)

(Image: Waid’s)

The state’s effort to strip a 12th and Jefferson nightclub of its liquor license is again in limbo. In April, a state administrative judge upheld violation notices against Waid’s Restaurant & Lounge for serving minors and for having staff without the proper credentials. Owner Waid Sainvil filed an appeal on the judge’s rulings, but after the 20-day deadline. Now the Washington State Liquor Control Board is deciding whether or not to consider Waid’s appeal.

A liquor board representative said a decision on the appeal could happen any day. If the board declines to consider the appeal, they will then make a decision on the liquor license.

In February, CHS spoke with Sainvil who said racism and the push of gentrification was driving authorities to target his establishment after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson bar.

“It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

According to a liquor board representative, Waid’s faced five enforcement violations and one licensing issue that were to be examined in court over six hearings after the board initially decided not to renew the club’s license.

Capitol Hill Arts District gets a push with ideas for promotion, preservation — and helping artists make rent

Tuesday's panel (Image: Capitol Hill Housing)

Tuesday’s panel included, from the left, Matthew Richter (City of Seattle), Tonya Lockyer (Velocity Dance), Jason Plourde (Three Dollar Bill Cinema), Seth Garrison ‘Mo-Wave!), Cathryn Vandenbrink (ArtsSpace USA), and Lesley Bain (Frameworks). SIFF’s Carl Spence was also part of the talk but had to run to make a 7 PM screening at the nearby Egyptian.
You can weigh in here on the question “What do you want the Capitol Hill Arts District to accomplish?
(Image: Capitol Hill Housing)

Over the past few years, the heart of Capitol Hill’s art scene has experienced a near-constant barrage of development. Where once was cheap studio space, there is now a mixed-use apartment building with $1,500 studio apartments. Where once was a stage, there is… well, a mixed-use apartment building with $1,500 studio apartments. Anyway, you get the idea. The City of Seattle — perhaps late in the game — has decided to start figuring out how to keep Capitol Hill the art epicenter of the city. Ideas on how to do it were pushed further ahead at Tuesday night’s annual Capitol Hill Housing forum.

The Capitol Hill Arts District is still just an idea. City Council member Nick Licata said it is up to the community to pressure government to act. “Every mayor I have talked to has said it is a good idea,” Licata said Tuesday night. “But they never got around to establishing it.”

Continue reading

Bike to Work Day 2014 includes bagel, donut pitstops, Capitol Hill commute stations

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 11.31.16 AMFriday, May 16th is Bike to Work Day and you’ll again find commuter stations across Capitol Hill and Seattle thanks to the Cascade Bicycle Club and sponsors.

A map is below.

Capitol Hill’s Schemata Workshop is also back in 2014 with its famous 12th Ave Bagel Pitstop with free bagels from Eltana and coffee from Cafe Argento from 7 to 9 AM.

View Commute Stations — Bike to Work Day presented by F5 in a larger map

IMG_1046A few Central Seattle highlights:

  • 1720 12th Ave, Schemata Bagel Pitstop, 7-9 AM
  • Lakeview Blvd E & Belmont Ave E, “Hot coffee/Top Pot donuts while they last,” 7-10 AM
  • 16th and Jeffers, Swedish Hospital DIY stop, Starbucks treats plus giveaways from Urban Racks, 6-9 AM

Cascade Commute Stations (info)

  • Pick up a free souvenir
  • Enter the free drawing for fabulous prizes
  • Join Cascade Bicycle Club at our once-a-year discounted rate (select stations only)
  • Ask a bike mechanic to look over your bike or air up your tires. 
  • Fuel up with snacks, coffee, or juice (varies from station to station)

There’s also an after party planned for Velo Bike Shop (remember those guys?) at their new Belltown location. You’ll find a few more BtWD events on the Seattle Bike Blog calendar.

If you haven’t given it a spin yet, find a way to integrate the newly extended Broadway bikeway into your ride — then try it with a kid this weekend:

My four year old rode her balance bike home in the track the other day!
We were up on top of the hill by the hospital last night, heading North and the ribbon of the track just stretched out before us and my daughter told me, “I want the track to go all the way through the city and out to the country.”
Me, too!

For more information on Seattle’s Bike to Work day, visit cascade.org/f5-bike-work-day.

Design reviews: Last in 12th Ave affordable trio, Eastlake mixed-use, CD townhouses

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 4.37.29 PM Screen-Shot-2014-04-22-at-5.23.02-PM-273x550A small burst of East District design review activity moves through the board this week but none of the plans call Capitol Hill proper home. Instead, the review board will weigh the quality of plans for the third in a trio of first private developments in the Seattle Housing Authority-powered rebirth of Yesler Terrace as well as an Eastlake mixed-use project and a “streamlined” non-public review of a Central District townhouse project. Details on the Central Seattle development activity, below.

CHS explored the tax incentive-steeped plan from Seattle-based Spectrum Development Solutions to build a string of three apartment buildings along the 12th Ave edge of Yesler Terrace just south of Capitol Hill as the developers brought their second project in the bunch — The Decibelbefore the review board in April.

The third and final member of the triumvirate takes its first review bow Wednesday night. The Reverb is the only un-mixed-use building of the bunch as it includes no commercial space in its seven-story plans. It will, however, be shaped in the vision of Seattle’s tax bonus program providing a property tax break to developers for 12 years if they set aside at least 20% of their units for affordable housing. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing’s 2014 forum looks at the opportunity for arts

1939434_10152021511471017_685254128068156032_oThe annual Capitol Hill Housing forum is a mix of prognostication and destiny. While the topics selected for the annual discussion of Central Seattle’s urbanist issues often augurs things to come, it comes with a strong push of self-fulfilling prophecy. The forum brings together many of the people that make things happen around Capitol Hill. Their discussion of what they’re up to and what they’re thinking sometimes isn’t predicting the future as much as revealing plans.

12th Ave Arts -- under construction on 12th near Pine

12th Ave Arts — under construction on 12th near Pine

The 2014 edition — next Tuesday, May 20th — then is a guarantee that the arts will play a more significant role around Capitol Hill and the central city in the years ahead. With fall 2014′s due date for CHH’s 12th Ave Arts project, a bet on the arts is probably a good one:

Community Forum: Launching a Capitol Hill Arts District
Tuesday, May 20th, 5 PM

Oddfellows West Hall

Register Here
Join Capitol Hill Housing for a lively discussion about starting an arts district on Capitol Hill. Continue reading